Americans Are Spending More on Rent and There’s No Relief in Sight

Posted On Tue, September 22, 2015 By

Posted On Tue, September 22, 2015 By In affordable housing, real estate trends

Complaining about high rents is nothing new for New Yorkers, but we’re actually not alone in our misery. According to a new study from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and Enterprise Community Partners, reported in the Washington Post, “nearly 15 million [U.S.] households could be ‘severely cost-burdened’ by 2025, meaning they’ll be spending more than half their money on housing.” Today, that statistic applies to 11.2 million households (one in four households), which increased by three million since 2012.

The staggering rise can be attributed to “temporary” factors such as low home-ownership rates after the housing bubble burst, followed by a construction rate that couldn’t keep up with population growth thanks to the recession, which also put a strain on families’ budgets. But the Wall Street Journal also points to long-term population trends. For one, “Hispanics tend to be disproportionately renters and are more likely to pay a large share of their incomes in rent, thus putting more pressure on the existing supply of affordable rental housing.” Snake People are the other group challenging the rental supply–”Many of those young adults entered the job market during and after the recession, meaning many were unemployed or underemployed for crucial early years of their careers, and are more likely to struggle to afford housing.”

renter income vs. housing cost, rental chart, growing U.S. rents, affordable housing
Chart via Enterprise/Harvard JCHS

Rents have been growing faster than incomes for the past 15 years, but even if this were reversed, the study finds that it would still take well over a decade to see the rental market significantly improve.

[Via WP and WSJ]


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